Celebrate Mother’s Day with TV’s most beloved moms.
Mother’s Day is upon us—have you told mom how much she means to you? How about your favorite TV mom?
TV show moms are as American as baseball, apple pie, and, well, television itself. They’re with us every day, sometimes even more so than our actual mothers (cue the warm fuzzies).
As we did with last year’s Top TV Dads in Each State, HowtoWatch collected state-by-state data to determine the most treasured TV moms in the US circa 2019. We laughed, cried, and were genuinely surprised over some of our findings—dragons count as kids now, apparently.
We began with lists from Ranker, Rotten Tomatoes, and Parents to identify the most beloved TV moms of all time. Then, we added several mothers from today’s most popular TV and streaming shows to the list.
From there, we ran each name through Google Trends to identify which moms were searched most frequently in each state. You could say it was a real mother of a process.
We found that America loves these five types of TV moms:
The USA’s favorite TV mother is also a recent one. Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Meredith Grey has been a mom only since 2012, but she and her kids have already lived a lifetime of all-caps DRAMA.
On the more comedic side, Modern Family’s Gloria Delgado-Pritchett and Claire Dunphy are among the definitive moms of 2000s TV, as are Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights), Rainbow Johnson (Black-ish), and Lorelei Gilmore (Gilmore Girls).
Miriam “Midge” Maisel, otherwise known as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, is a 1950s mom who was introduced to us in 2017, so she’s both modern and classic.
- Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, West Virginia: Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy)
- Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia: Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights)
- New Hampshire, Vermont: Miriam “Midge” Maisel (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
- Arizona, Washington: Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Modern Family)
- Missouri: Claire Dunphy (Modern Family)
- Maine: Lorelei Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
- North Carolina: Rainbow Johnson (Black-ish)
Clair Huxtable (The Cosby Show), Jill Taylor (Home Improvement), Kitty Forman (That ‘70s Show), Peggy Bundy (Married With Children), and Debra Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) owned TV motherhood in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and they remain east-coast favorites.
Lucy Ricardo (I Love Lucy), Edith Bunker (All in the Family), Victoria Barkley (The Big Valley), Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch), and Miss Ellie Ewing (Dallas) ruled the ‘60s and ‘70s. Seeing Lily Munster (The Munsters) here but not Morticia Addams (The Addams Family) stings our goth heart, but we’ll carry on.
Also, let us not forget that the Beav’s mom, June Cleaver (Leave It to Beaver), is the 1950s o.g. of all TV mothers.
- New Mexico, Rhode Island: Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch)
- Kansas, Nevada: Peggy Bundy (Married With Children)
- District of Columbia: Clair Huxtable (The Cosby Show)
- Massachusetts: Jill Taylor (Home Improvement)
- New York: Debra Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond)
- California: Lucy Ricardo (I Love Lucy)
- Delaware: Edith Bunker (All in the Family)
- Hawaii: Lily Munster (The Munsters)
- Texas: Eleanor “Miss Ellie” Ewing (Dallas)
- Florida: Victoria Barkley (The Big Valley)
- Minnesota: June Cleaver (Leave It to Beaver)
The Simpsons’ blue-haired matriarch, Marge Simpson, is an obvious animated pick, followed by Family Guy’s Lois Griffin, American Dad’s Francine Smith, King of the Hill’s Peggy Hill, and The Jetsons’ Jane Jetson. Rugrats’ Charlotte Pickles, where art thou?
The odd cartoon-mom out here is Betty Rubble of The Flintstones. Why no love for Wilma Flintstone? Her name is in the show title, Indiana.
- Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah: Marge Simpson (The Simpsons)
- Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina: Peggy Hill (King of the Hill)
- Oklahoma: Lois Griffin (Family Guy)
- Tennessee: Francine Smith (American Dad)
- Connecticut: Jane Jetson (The Jetsons)
- Indiana: Betty Rubble (The Flintstones)
She may be more “misunderstood” than “bad,” but Oregon’s fave mom choice of Nancy Botwin (Weeds) is akin to naming Breaking Bad’s Walter White father of the year (which New Mexico did last year, BTW).
As for Idaho and Iowa’s pick of Joyce Byers (Stranger Things), she may be devoted, but that is one stressful household.
Likewise, pro wrestler mom Debbie Egan (GLOW) and scandalous spouse Lynette Scavo (Desperate Housewives) may have their (many) problems, but they’re still fiercely protective parents.
Meanwhile, New Jersey couldn’t choose between sketchy-but-devoted mothers Carmella Soprano (The Sopranos) and Sophia Petrillo (Golden Girls). Frankly, neither can we.
- Idaho, Iowa: Joyce Byers (Stranger Things)
- Oregon: Nancy Botwin (Weeds)
- New Jersey: Carmella Soprano (The Sopranos) and Sophia Petrillo (Golden Girls)
- Michigan: Debbie Egan (GLOW)
- Wisconsin: Lynette Scavo (Desperate Housewives)
Think HBO fantasy epic Game of Thrones isn’t a family show at heart? You know nothing, Jon Snow. Four states identify with Westeros mothers Cersei Lannister, Olenna Tyrell, Ellaria Sand, and Daenerys Targaryen.
Yes, Daenerys is technically a surrogate “mom” to dragons, but are you going to argue with her and her fire-breathing brood? Didn’t think so.
- Alaska: Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones)
- Colorado: Olenna Tyrell (Game of Thrones)
- Montana: Ellaria Sand (Game of Thrones)
- Wyoming: Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)
Each state’s favorite TV mom
|State||Mom character||TV show|
|Alabama||Meredith Grey||Grey’s Anatomy|
|Alaska||Cersei Lannister||Game of Thrones|
|Arizona||Gloria Delgado-Pritchett||Modern Family|
|Arkansas||Meredith Grey||Grey’s Anatomy|
|California||Lucy Ricardo||I Love Lucy|
|Colorado||Olenna Tyrell||Game of Thrones|
|Connecticut||Jane Jetson||The Jetsons|
|Delaware||Edith Bunker||All in the Family|
|District of Columbia||Clair Huxtable||The Cosby Show|
|Florida||Victoria Barkley||The Big Valley|
|Georgia||Tami Taylor||Friday Night Lights|
|Hawaii||Lily Munster||The Munsters|
|Idaho||Joyce Byers||Stranger Things|
|Illinois||Kitty Forman||That ‘70s Show|
|Indiana||Betty Rubble||The Flintstones|
|Iowa||Joyce Byers||Stranger Things|
|Kansas||Peggy Bundy||Married with Children|
|Kentucky||Peggy Hill||King of the Hill|
|Louisiana||Meredith Grey||Grey’s Anatomy|
|Maine||Lorelai Gilmore||Gilmore Girls|
|Maryland||Peggy Hill||King of the Hill|
|Massachusetts||Jill Taylor||Home Improvement|
|Minnesota||June Cleaver||Leave It to Beaver|
|Mississippi||Marge Simpson||The Simpsons|
|Missouri||Claire Dunphy||Modern Family|
|Montana||Ellaria Sand||Game of Thrones|
|Nebraska||Meredith Grey||Grey’s Anatomy|
|Nevada||Peggy Bundy||Married with Children|
|New Jersey (tie)||Carmela Soprano|
The Golden Girls
|New Mexico||Carol Brady||The Brady Bunch|
|New York||Debra Barone||Everybody Loves Raymond|
|North Carolina||Rainbow Johnson||Black-ish|
|North Dakota||Meredith Grey||Grey’s Anatomy|
|Ohio||Sophia Petrillo||The Golden Girls|
|Oklahoma||Lois Griffin||Family Guy|
|Pennsylvania||Tami Taylor||Friday Night Lights|
|Rhode Island||Carol Brady||The Brady Bunch|
|South Carolina||Peggy Hill||King of the Hill|
|South Dakota||Marge Simpson||The Simpsons|
|Tennessee||Francine Smith||American Dad|
|Texas||Eleanor “Miss Ellie” Ewing||Dallas|
|Utah||Marge Simpson||The Simpsons|
|Vermont||Miriam “Midge” Maisel||The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel|
|Virginia||Tami Taylor||Friday Night Lights|
|Washington||Gloria Delgado-Pritchett||Modern Family|
|West Virginia||Meredith Grey||Grey’s Anatomy|
|Wisconsin||Lynette Scavo||Desperate Housewives|
|Wyoming||Daenerys Targaryen||Game of Thrones|
Happy (TV) Mother’s Day!
From the dawn of broadcast to the platinum age of television, TV moms have always been there for you.
(Well, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a bit of an absentee mother—but she’s funny and stylish, so we’ll allow it.)
Most importantly: Don’t forget to pry yourself away from the tube and wish your real, non-TV mom a happy Mother’s Day!